Weird Sex Mushrooms Give Ladies Spontaneous Orgasms (Or Not): Your Saturday Nerdout
Hey, you know what those look like?
A happy Saturday to you, oh Nerdlings of Wonkette! We've got pornographic mushrooms (maybe), scientific proof of aliens (probably not), leftist comic books (hardly even), and a homemade Starship Enterprise (definitely!), plus much more for you this week!
'Orgasm Mushroom' May Only Be A Phallusy
Mark Frauenfelder over at BoingBoing launched a heated Biology Debate last week with a post about the Phallus indusiatus mushroom, also known as Dictyophora, (which is still good for some giggles), which grows in tropical areas and may or may not have the ability to induce spontaneous orgasms in human lady people. According to a 2001 article in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, as summarized by the Source of All Knowledge Today,
the smell of the fresh fungus can trigger spontaneous orgasms in human females. In the trial involving 16 women, 6 had orgasms while smelling the fruit body, and the other ten, who received smaller doses, experienced physiological changes such as increased heart rate. All of the 20 men tested considered the smell disgusting.
Wikipedia also notes that the study "used the species found in Hawaii, not the edible variety cultivated in China." The researchers attributed the effect to possible similarities between compounds secreted by the mushroom and "human neurotransmitters released in females during sexual activity." Not so! shouted many readers who'd consulted the Other Infallible Source Of Knowledge On the Internet, which noted that the 2001 study had a very small sample size, and has not been replicated in any other scientific studies -- indeed, nobody seems to have even tried, which strikes us as a shame, since "Orgasm Mushrooms" seems like a terrific research topic, not to mention a good name for a band, as does "Hawaiian Sex Fungus." Wonkette is looking into organizing a Kickstarter to fund a research junket to Hawaii to find out more about this; please give generously.
It's Star Trek Again, Kind Of
Star Trek nerds got a nice treat in the New York Times last week with a look at the ubergeeks who are putting on their very own continuation of the original Star Trek TV series from 1966-69. Since 2004, superfan James Cawley has been putting out about one episode a year of the show, originally called Star Trek: New Voyages and more recently Star Trek Phase II, filming the program on accurate reproductions of the sets, with lots of cool digital special effects that look better than what NBC could manage in the 1960s. The leads -- Brian Gross as Captain Kirk, Brandon Stacy as Spock, and Jeff Bond as Dr. McCoy -- are professional actors, with lots of fans in Starfleet uniforms filling out the cast. They even got David Gerrold, who wrote "The Trouble With Tribbles," to write for the show, and George Takei appeared in a cameo role in an episode titled “World Enough and Time,” which is such a perfectly Trek-y title we're surprised Gene Roddenberry never used it.
The goal was to make a new Star Trek series that didn't look like it was made by rinkydink amateurs or the IRS, and apparently it's pretty good -- We'll confess, we haven't watched more than a few minutes of the first episode, "In Harm's Way," but we'll probably give 'em a look. The show is available online only, free for nothing, in a nonprofit effort to avoid any legal hassles from CBS, which owns the rights to the original series. In just the short bit we watched, we got a nice callback to the original series: in a flashback scene where Christopher Pike is commanding the Enterprise, Spock is all shouty and has the same bad haircut he did in the real series pilot; then he's back to his normal bangs and logical calm in the "present." Nicely done.
Just In Case You Want To Build a Death Ray
Gizmodo's Adam Clark Estes gets at one of the vital questions facing Our Modern World of Today: How Many Laser Pointers Would It Take to Kill a Human? Spoiler: More laser pointers than any evil genius would want to try, and you'd have to focus them through a special lens, and even then the human would have to hold very, very still. On the other hand, lots of toys for the supervillain's cat. Despite the impracticality, it's a fun article because, in Mythbusters style, Estes takes the question seriously enough to do science to it, explaining how it could possibly be done (First, get 200,000 office-grade laser pointers...) and consulting Real Experts for advice. Check it out! Also, do not try it at home. If you do, the FBI may come looking for you.
Also too, here is a video of a U.S. Navy laser what can shoot a drone right out of the sky. Don't try that at home, either.
Wingnuts Freak Out Over 'Leftist' Marvel Comics
Latest rightwing thing to grumble about: The MacIver Institute, a Wisconsin-based conservative "think tank," is quite upset about a recent issue of Marvel's Captain America, in which Cap battles some border vigilantes who are mean to illegal immigrants. As guest blogger Mara Zebest gripes at the Gateway Pundit, in this terrible new development, "truth is the new hate speech in which the heroes are terrorists and terrorists are heroes (welcome to the land of PC Moonbat Liberalism)." The Right Scoop blog fulminates,
So stopping illegal immigration is now something a right-wing terrorist would do that requires a liberal superhero to fight against? What a load of crap.
This is obviously a response to Donald Trump making illegal immigration a huge issue in this election campaign. Liberals can’t stand the idea of illegals being deported or a big wall being built to keep them from coming in. So they portray conservatives like Trump, Cruz, and others as right-wing terrorists and illegal immigration as something to be defended.
Here's a page captured from the video; click to embiggen:
We must be Bad Americans, because all we can do is giggle at the combination of wingnut catchphrases and super-villain diction: "Also, you know how you make me press a one for English at the beginning of every call to my satellite provider? That is something I cannot abide!"
Also, too, in the comments at Gateway Pundit, a longtime comics fan (who takes pains to note that he's a Trump supporter) nerdsplains that the "Sons of the Serpent" aren't a rightwing paramilitary group invented just for the purpose of persecuting illegal immigrants in 2015 -- they're a long-running group of bad guys in the Marvel universe, a
subversive organization of costumed American racist super-patriots who oppose all racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. They sought to subvert America through hate crimes and organized protests, and were opposed by the Avengers and the Defenders.
As for being part of a new disgusting liberal turn in comics and trying to subvert our children, these particular bad guys have been around since Avengers #32, from 1966. It's kind of fun to scan through the comments and see all the whining about how comics have "suddenly" become politicized, especially when you consider that in his original incarnation in the 1930s, Superman was an ardent New Dealer who fought cruel landlords and sweatshop owners. As our deleted commenters like to say, maybe these guys need to READ A BOOK.
We're Not Saying It's Aliens...
Lots of excitement generated by an Atlantic article about this one weird discovery by the Kepler Space Telescope, which looks for the tiny variations in starlight that might indicate that a star is orbited by one or more planets. To help look at the data, the Kepler team crowdsourced part of the research through a project called "planet hunters," which lets you Do Science from your very own laptop (cheese doodles not provided).
In 2011, several citizen scientists flagged one particular star as “interesting” and “bizarre.” The star was emitting a light pattern that looked stranger than any of the others Kepler was watching.
The light pattern suggests there is a big mess of matter circling the star, in tight formation. That would be expected if the star were young.
Problem is, this sexy star, KIC 8462852, is a mature star, so it shouldn't have all that stuff circling it, unless it got there recently. The best science guess is that the star may have come into close proximity to another star and "yanked a sea of comets inward. Provided there were enough of them, the comets could have made the dimming pattern." Or maybe, said some very optimistic folks from SETI, the online alien hunters, the weird dimming of the star could be caused by a “swarm of megastructures” built around the star to collect energy. And so, for kicks, the SETI folks are hoping to aim a large radiotelescope dish at the star to see if there's anything that looks like an alien version of I Love Lucy being beamed out.
Phil Plait, of the Bad Astronomy blog, offers a compelling rebuttal explaining why we should probably not be planning on launching Donald Trump on a one-way trip toward KIC 8462852 to negotiate bottled water sales, terrific though the idea might be for peace on Earth. He says that the non-alien hypotheses are probably better, but that KIC 8462852 is still one hella cool astronomical mystery. And he doesn't rule out the possibility that we're looking at some gigantic alien construction, just that it's really, really unlikely.
What we want to know is whether the star's irregular light variations have the ability to cause spontaneous orgasms. Why is no one looking at the really important questions?
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.